A gloomy account into the making and breaking of a celebrated novelist, Capote is a very well acted if not dreary true crime story.
When a family of four are murdered in Kansas, celebrated novelist Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) decides to write an article for the New Yorker magazine about how the murders have affected the towns people.
Assisted by his best friend and author Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), Truman interviews everyone associated with the victims. When the killers are found and brought into custody, Truman is drawn to them, especially Perry Smith (Clifford Collins Jr.) with whom he develops a close relationship.
As he becomes obsessed with the story, Truman decides to change the article to a non fiction novel entitled "In Cold Blood", which would not only become his greatest literal achievement critically and commercially but would also destroy his life.
In a career that has seen actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman play a vast array of characters (and very well at that), Hoffman has found the role of a lifetime which he delivers with uncanny precision.
Truman Capote was not a nice guy. He was a selfish, manipulative drama queen who could care less if Perry Smith is executed just as long as he gets his story. Yet only an actor like Hoffman could play such a flamboyant figure with such hypnotic subtlety and empathy.
Showing off her comedic talent in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Catherine Keener gives a great dramatic performance as Harper Lee, Truman's confidant and conscience, Keener earning a well deserved Oscar nomination. Clifton Collins Jr. as well gives a great performance as Perry Smith, creating a harrowing figure which at times is not easy to watch.
Director Bennet Miller has crafted an erringly somber film which is rich in detail, the great costume and set designs capturing the early 1960's with stark frankness. Its minimal use of music works well to a certain degree; the actors are given space to bring forth the underlying complexities hiding in there characters , yet the score's main lullaby like melody can make for a lethargic experience .
This seems to be the films biggest problem: Capote can be a dull cinematic experience. It's just a little to cold for its own good. Yet overall Capote is a very good biopic that features an exceptional cast and a stellar lead performance.